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More and more people are working from home: some telecommute for their paid job,
some own their own home-based businesses and some use their home offices as super-charged
productivity hubs for all their jobs, clients, paid hobbies and more. The one thing
all home offices have in common is that they should all be geared up and streamlined
for distraction-free, enjoyable productivity. We’ve got a quick list of some essential
tech items that can help you work smarter, not just harder. Some of these items
may even save you a bunch of money.
1. All-in-One or Multifunction Machine
In the not-so-distant past, home offices typically had a veritable flotilla of devices
to help keep things running - a printer, a scanner, a copier and a fax machine.
Thank the geek gods for constantly improving technology, because
all those old devices can now fit into one slim, high tech machine.
All-in-One units have high quality colour printers, high-resolution scanners,
copy functions and can even fax when plugged into a phone line. An All-in-One is
essential because it does so much and takes up so little space. You’ll also save
a lot on your electricity bills by dropping from four power-hungry devices to one.
2. Laptop Computer
Laptops are often preferred for home-office use because they allow work
to be done from more than one static location in the home. They can be moved from
desk to desk, out of the office and onto the porch,
and even on the road if ever necessary. Should you get a little stir-crazy from
working from the same location all the time, a quick trip to a coffee house with
wireless internet can work wonders for clearing cobwebs, sparking new ideas and
reminding you that you’re still part of a social society. You just can’t get that
freedom with a desktop computer. Laptops use much less power than desktops, so you
could see an almost instant drop in power consumption.
3. External Hard Drive
If you value any of the data on your computer, you need to keep it backed up in
some way or another. If you have lots of data to protect (images, spreadsheets,
business plans, computer code, emails, etc.),
you’ll want a very reliable
external hard drive. Storing duplicates of your files on an external drive
saves you untold grief should your main computer ever fail or go missing. Always
buy a hard drive that can hold more data than you think you’ll need. You can often
get drives with 200% more storage room for only 10% to 20% higher prices than base
models. Excellent value, brilliant security solution.
4. Spacious LCD Screen
If you’re one of the few people still using a bulky CRT monitor in your home office,
please, please, please do yourself and the environment a favour by upgrading to
a new LCD monitor.
New LCD screens offer stunning visual quality, low power consumption
and, best of all, widescreen LCDs can enhance productivity. Even if you’re using
a laptop, you can benefit immensely from the productivity boost an external LCD
monitor can provide. It essentially doubles your work space, allowing you to multitask
like mad, all without having to switch back and forth between super tiny windows.
Prices are right for any budget, too.
5. Speaker System
of the most enjoyable productivity boosters can be background music. Whether it’s
a little Tony Bennett playing softly over the air waves, or a little Meshuggah cranked
up loud enough to drown out air raid sirens, music is both aesthetic and therapeutic.
Luckily, high quality speaker
systems are very affordable and can play directly from your computer or
MP3 player. Speaker sets may not save you any money, but the music they play can
inspire you to do more.
6. Comfortable Keyboard
Whether you’re using a desktop or laptop computer, the wrong keyboard can wreak
havoc on your work flow and can prematurely tire your hands and fingers. Bad keyboards
contribute to typos, hand/wrist strain and, quite often, excessively loud key noise
that can drive some people batty. Find a new
keyboard that has smooth keying action that feels good under the tips of
your fingers. Ergonomic keyboards can help reduce and/or prevent strain. Most high-quality
keyboards have wireless versions, helping you keep your desk clutter free.
7. Better Mouse
Old style mice with the rubber ball underneath are notoriously bad when it comes
to accurate mouse movements. No matter how clean you or your work space may be,
gunk inevitably builds up, causing jerky, uncontrollable mouse action. They’re also
prime gathering places for nasty germs. An
optical or laser mouse will work beautifully on most surfaces, and you can
even ditch the nasty mouse pad. Some mice are made with comfortable ergonomic designs,
making them very pleasant to use for long periods of time. Wireless mice (whether
Bluetooth or RF) are great for keeping desks clean and tidy.
8. Cell Phone & VoIP Headsets
In a work environment, cell phone headsets can be invaluable. Whether corded or
wireless, headsets allow extra mobility, eliminate kinked-neck syndrome and add
freedom for both hands to work on other things.
Bluetooth headsets allow you to freely walk around the office environment,
up to 30 feet from the phone itself. Most Bluetooth headsets (and many corded headsets)
also work well with VoIP applications like Skype, iChat, etc.
9. VoIP Phone Service
Standard land-lines, though old-school, are commonly used for home office phone
service. Many home-based entrepreneurs and remote employees use cell phones, especially
if they need to be mobile on a regular basis. Another fantastic option - often free
or incredibly inexpensive - is to use an already-existing high speed Internet connection
for VoIP - also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or internet telephony. These
services can save tens, hundreds and even thousands of dollars on long distance
and long-duration calls.
10. Charging Station
Along with all the gadgets sprawled all over the average home office desk, there
are inevitably an equal number of charging blocks and cords connected to said gadgetry.
Virtually eliminate the mess by getting a super
charging hub. A charging hub can simultaneously charge several of your devices,
and only uses one wall outlet. It’s a fantastic space saver in the home office,
and works wonders for simplifying business and personal travel and lightening the
bags you may carry.
Browse our large online selection of home office essentials or head into a Future
Shop near you, and one of our Product Experts
can help you choose what you need to create a productive work environment. You can
also join in on the latest home office discussion in our Community
Some content used with permission from Digital Trends
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